Monday, June 22, 2009
For our third year, we headed up to Eugene last week for the Black Sheep Gathering. We camped in the field behind the fair grounds and slept to the sounds of sheep: baa, baa, baa and an occasional middle-of-the-night outburst from the homeless people who passed by, displaced by a crowd of campers.
This year, I tried something new. Seeing a call for volunteers for the Wool Show on Ravelry, I offered to help. I figured that helping would be even more fun than just watching the wool judging, which is what I do most of the weekend. Also, it would keep me busy since I really don’t need anything from the market. I had a great time moving fleeces around and learning more about wool from a different judge this year. Then I kept super busy on Saturday taking payments during the sale. And the fleece flew out the door! I showed amazing restraint and just split one fleece with my friend Connie, who also helped with the judging all weekend.
One thing that was really interesting was seeing some women spread out a fleece in order to split it. It was BIG. And I learned that fleece are made up of varying qualities from one area to the other. The best fiber is on the back, and even which side the sheep sleeps on will affect the quality. There’s so much more to learn.
Doesn’t it look lovely all spread out there? There were tons of gorgeous fleeces. If I didn’t have a mountain of wool in my house already, I surely would have come home with more.
Besides working at the wool show and a quick trip through the market and the sheep barns (I loved the newly born lambs!) we went to dinner with the husbands (who were sorely neglected but kept themselves busy.) This trip we ate at Cornucopia, which has a varied selection, including several vegetarian choices. And it is said they have good beer, too. It was extremely busy there and service was slow, but the food was good. We also returned to the Koho Bistro for a fine dinner. They are on the pricey side, but the food is excellent.
The other activity that I really enjoy is spinning outside in our camp. This year Connie brought a canopy and we added a wall to keep the wind out. The weather was rather cold and windy most of the weekend. I bought some bright orange roving from Aunt Janet to make the husband a hat. It reminds me of the safety orange jackets my dad loved when he worked on the city street crew. Even though orange is not my color, I’m enjoying the cheerful effect it has on me. It’s like summer flowers.
I always enjoy the drive up and down the Oregon coast, but it sure did tire us out. Today was spent recovering, reorganizing, and battling some raging hayfever. Sleeping in a grassy field always sets it off. I did spend a little time spinning outside on my porch today, enjoying my new lettuce and herb garden. Oh, and making up to the cat, who is not at all happy that we have been gone so much this month. She sat watching me spin and giving me cranky looks.
We have a three days at home, four more away, and then back to stay put for a while. Sounds like summer, right?
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Happy World Wide Knit in Public Day!! I will be out of town on Saturday, but I will be knitting a hat. Knitting a hat at a motorcycle run. Camping in the redwoods. Now, I’ve knit in a lot of places, including bars, but this one seems like it will be the most — conspicuous, I guess. A bit out-of-place, maybe, which might just be the point of WWKIP Day.
I will miss all the fabulous activities our local Northcoast Knittery has planned for the day, but I will still be around friends. This will be my first time going to the Redwood Run, which is the big old-school motorcycle run in our area. It’s strange that it is the one I’ve always missed, but we could never get away for it. I’m surprised we are managing to go this year, the one year we aren’t riding. The man of the house is waiting for hernia repair surgery and is under strict orders not to ride.
I hope your day is filled with knitting, and maybe some of it in public. I’ll be thinking of you and listening to the sound of motorcycles revving and some good, old-school rockin’ music. And knitting a hat.
I used to knit a lot of hats. Remember? Most of them went to chemotherapy patients through Caps for a Cure. Well, I do still knit and crochet hats, just not as many. And I don’t blog about most of them, but there are a few I’d like to share.
This pink hat is from the pattern called Thorpe. I knit it as a Ravelry Knit-Along on the Hats! Hats! Hats! group. It was the New Year knit along. I used Lion Brand Jiffy for both parts. It was fun to knit; I love the braids. Then it whooshed off to a chemo center across the country along with the Slouchy Copy Cat Hat that I made during the Super Bowl. February. I purposefully made this less slouchy than the pattern directed. It makes a lovely fake cable that is so easy it feels like cheating.
I also went through a Fair-Isle phase with my hats, which I hope to pursue further. I started out with two February birthday hats. I used the pattern from Knit Two Together called Skull Hat (pdf. file) and found a chart for some fishes for my Dad’s hat. I call it the Swedish Fish Hat since our family name is Swedish. I used some bamboo from my stash and this is silky soft. Dad loves it.
I really like how this hat has a built-in liner that covers the stranding, makes it warmer, and lets me use wool if I want to with a softer yarn for the lining. What I don’t like about the pattern is the four-corner top, so I just make it a regular beanie style top.
Then came the hat for the husband’s grandson, for his 12th birthday. It had to be cool, and what’s cooler than skulls? He thought so, too.
The hat in the picture is actually the one I made for the husband. His grandson’s had red skulls. I really enjoyed the Fair-Isle and plan to do more soon.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
So if it takes a minimum of two weeks to finish a couple socks, how long does it take to make a sweater? Add to that the starts that have no finishes and it is really quite a long time! Regardless, I am working on a sweater, well, two sweaters, actually. I’ll start with the non-finishers . . . .
First came a vest in Noro Kureyon. I think it just didn’t suit me and I was frustrated with the rowing-out (uneven tension between rows.)
So it was frogged.
Then I cast on for a vest with a big cable running down the middle, using some chunky-weight alpaca. I worked on this one for quite a while, working on it when I went to Stitches West in February, but again got frustrated with the rowing-out and decided it would be too heavy anyway.
Frogged again. I’ll try this pattern in a lighter yarn later.
I spent a little time after this practicing my tension. I tried switching back to English-style knitting for the purl rows. I tried cinching up the stitches. I also made some small swatches to make sure whether it was the knits or the purls that were looser. The purl swatch came out bigger. I can’t say the practice improved my knitting — mostly provided awareness, but I cast on another sweater anyway.
Hey, Teach! has a back and the first front is just started. I’m sticking with this one so far. Too far to turn back now!
I’m using Queensland Kathmandu Aran in a tweedy beige. The yarn is a blend of wool, silk, and cashmere, but feels like a very soft cotton. It is slightly thick and thin with some slubs.
The textured yarn will cover some rowing-out, but I am also purling English style (throwing) and knitting Continental (picking.) I did go back to Continental purling on the last few rows of the shoulder. It is just so much faster and easier for me! I didn’t notice any rowing-out, but the texture of the yarn could easily hide it. For the stockinette portion of the front that I started yesterday, I am back to throwing the purls. I’m glad the rows are shorter now, because I really don’t like throwing, but I may get used to it eventually.
It took some time to figure out how to “work in pattern” while decreasing and shaping. It’s coming along fairly well, though. It’s a new challenge for me. Lest you think that I am powering along at top speed on this — it was started April 13th. That makes it going on two months now. One more month would make me a happy Finisher. Heck, finishing it any time this year would make me happy!
I’m also still working on my Nordic Sock Sweater that will be coming up on its one-year birthday the same day that Hey, Teach is two months old. Hmmmm. I think it’s time to work on speeding up the sweater knitting like I did with the sock knitting. Get in and get it done! Naw, that’s not my style. I’ll just keep plugging along at my own pace. I’m still in my comfort zone as far as works-in-progress, so there’s no need to push it. I really would like to start wearing one of these sweaters, though. I do think there’s hope.